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pro. several, a few; how many?
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1. 几 is used to ask for a number which is usually smaller than ten. This means that the person who asks the question estimates that the answer might be less than 10. The answer to a question with 几 should be a numeral plus a measure word. For example the Q and A below:
Q:她几岁? [phr] How old is she?
A:八岁。[phr] (She’s) eight.
However, in some cases even when the number is bigger than 10, we still use 几. These cases include when we ask time and date, when we ask for an ordinal number such as a bus number, a number of an apartment, etc.
E.g. 现在几点了? [phr] What time is it now?
E.g. 今天几号? [phr] What's the date today?
E.g. 你住几号 [phr] What's the number (of the room/ building) that you live in? Which room/building do you live in?

2. In a question where 几 is used, 几 is usually followed by a measure word. This is different from 多少 which is not necessarily followed by a measure word.

Please note that 多 and 多少 can also be used to ask for a number. To know how to use them, please check out our notes on those entries.
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Skye Leaf
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